UDC awarded £500,000 to support air quality projects

Uttlesford District Council has been awarded more than £500,000 by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to bring forward a series of projects to tackle air pollution and improve opportunities for sustainable travel.

The funding, totalling £517,124, comes from the Air Quality Grant, which helps councils develop and implement projects to benefit schools, businesses and communities and reduce the impact of dirty air on people's health.

Uttlesford has been given the funding to support its clean air plans in Saffron Walden. The focus is on schemes to improve traffic management in the town, creating new opportunities for green transport. This includes the trialling of a 'try before you buy' e-bike hire scheme, e-cargo bike hire scheme and an electric vehicle car club. These schemes will initially be piloted in Saffron Walden and, if successful, the intention is to roll out to other areas of the district.

The funding will also support school education and business engagement programmes to raise awareness of pollution and encourage behavioural changes to help improve air quality, as well as cover the costs of increased monitoring capabilities.

It is anticipated the initiatives will get underway later this year, and further details will follow.

Cllr Louise Pepper, Portfolio Holder for the Environment and Green Issues, said: "We are delighted to receive this funding from Defra - it is great news for residents, businesses and schools, and we look forward to making the most of this opportunity.

"Reducing transport emissions is key to cleaning up the air we breathe. We can help to do this by removing some of the barriers to sustainable travel and making them more appealing and accessible for more people.

"This funding will allow us to develop some exciting new initiatives to boost the use of green transport, and also put in place programmes to make people aware that there are small things we can all do to make a big impact on the quality of air in our communities."

Transport emissions is a major focus of the council's climate change strategy and aligning action plan, which includes looking at ways to improve active travel, such as cycling and walking, raising awareness of air pollution, and increasing the number of electric vehicle charging points across the district.

For more information about what the council is doing locally about climate change, visit www.uttlesford.gov.uk/climate-change.

1 April 2022